Chapter 3

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    I slouched back in my seat as Mrs. Tanlle, our History professor, walked out of the classroom. Finally! Saved by the bell. I thought this lecture was never going to end. Because of my being late for almost a-third of the period, Mrs. Tanlle “gave extra care on my learning progress.” All of a sudden, the whole class seemed to have vanished, leaving only a helpless me struggling with the obese woman. History is my least favourite subject, and needless to say, it is my worst. I almost always get flunked for no particular reason but “lack of knowledge in the world of the past,” which is the Tanlle-ian saying for “stupidity in History.” Mrs. Tanlle and I just don’t get along very well.

    “Nice job, James.” Albert Hunter, one of my gym mates, slapped me on the back—hard. He is a large, muscular man who has a big booming voice and lack of control of his own strength.

    “Thanks.” I smiled, trying not to flinch. “But I’ve got a feeling I’ll get flunked again this semester.”

    “Well, honestly, it won’t make the school headlines.” We both laughed as two more guys I always hang out with came to join us.

    “But really, Jamey, why were you so late today?” Paul O’Lee, another gym mate who was built but short, sat on my desk and looked curiously down at me. The other boys leaned in to listen.

    Sweat formed at the back of my scalp. “Well, I had to meet someone.” I faltered. “It took longer than I thought.”

    Daichi Yamamoto, a slender Japanese boy, nudged me in the ribs and teased: “Who is this ‘someone’ and why did it take longer than you thought?” The other boys chuckled excitedly.

    “Well…” At the corner of my eye, I caught sight of Freeman sitting motionlessly in his seat, eyeing us through the shadow that always seems to be casted on him. Looking at those big, orange eyes, my stomach churned.

    “It’s alright if you don’t tell us.” Albert said, slapping me on the back—hard—again.

    “Yeah, ‘cause we can all guess who.” Paul laughed excitedly.

    “Then why did you ask in the first place?” I laughed awkwardly, knowing who they were talking about. If I were secretly meeting with someone other than these boys, the only person that would come in their minds is my beautiful girlfriend, Leona Kya.

    “James?” A gentle, feminine voice said from the doorway. “Was everything alright?”

    As the boys purposefully wandered off, I stood up and walked over to my beloved girlfriend. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever met, with her long, wavy hair as golden as the sun, and her wide, glimmering eyes as green as the first sprout of Spring. She has the slim body of a super model, and her taste of fashion is uncontroversial. She always wears the most stylish clothing, most of which no one has ever seen anyone wear before. In addition to all this, she is mature and caring, which are what I love about her most.

    “Why don’t we find a quieter place to talk?” I said as I led her out the classroom. She hooked her arm around mine and gracefully walked beside me, her gorgeous purple skirt fluttering around her long, pale legs.

    As soon as we walked out of the History building, Leona stepped in front of me and asked, “I heard that you were late today. Was everything alright?”

    I smiled slightly and brushed her silky hair, soothing her. “It was nothing, Leona. I wandered around too long, that’s all.” Even though I love her so much, I still find it easy to deceive her.

    Relieved, Leona gently slapped me on the cheek. “Why do you always make me worry about you, you naughty little worm.” I love it when she pretends to be angry at me.

    “Well, we don’t want you to be late for the next class, so let’s go.” She held my hand in hers and dragged me to my next class. After giving me a shy peck on the cheek, she walked off towards her own class.

    “Love, love, love.” Daichi sang beside me after Leona disappeared. “Look what I drew.” He handed me a small sketchbook that he brings with him wherever he goes. In it was a delicate drawing of me and Leona sitting on a bench looking at each other.

    “You are so talented, Daichi.” I praised, glancing at the picture in awe. “Can I have a copy of this? Leona would love it!”

    “Sure, but that would cost you 20 bucks.” Daichi laughed and nudged me in the stomach. “JKs.”

    As the bell rang, everyone scattered throughout the room, looking for their favourite seats. Some were still chatting loudly and others preparing for the upcoming lesson. Waiting for the professor to arrive, I let my eyes casually wander around the classroom, until I found myself staring at a pair of big, orange eyes in the dark corner. A chill went down my spine. Freeman was staring at me like a zombie.

    “What’s up, Jamey?” Paul, who likes to sit behind me, snapped his fingers in front of my face.

    “Nothing.” I lied, putting on my smile again. When Paul turned to talk with someone beside him, I glanced back at where Freeman was sitting. His gaze had turned to Daichi’s sketchbook. He was looking at it as if it were an interesting species of plant.

    “Good morning class.” Mr. Kim, our English professor, walked slowly into the classroom. Though Mr. Kim doesn’t mind us doing irrelevant things in his class, he just cannot stand students sleeping while he is teaching. Whoever dozes off in front of him will receive a big “F” on their final report card. It’s pretty ironic though, because Mr. Kim is the most sleep-triggering professor in the whole faculty.

Oh, perfect, I thought. Now I would have to find something interesting to do. I took a quick glance at everyone else. Paul was reading a hidden comic book and trying his best not to laugh out loud. Albert was twirling his pen between his fingers. He wouldn’t last long, I mentally grieved for him. A shy girl named Tiara Kert was playing an invisible piano on her desk. Rachel Deer was reviewing her hip-hop dance moves, twirling her body slightly in her seat. Daichi was busy drawing in his sketchbook again. I wonder what he’s drawing this time, I thought.

    As the humming sound of Mr. Kim giving his lecture continued, my eyelids involuntarily started to drop. As my eyesight blurred, a pair of orange eyes seemed to literally dig into my view. I widened my eyes in shock, and found Freeman staring at me once again. Only this time, he had a weird smile on his face, which gave me the creeps. As I was wondering what in the world he had in mind, a small object bumped into my foot. I looked down and saw that a toy truck had stopped under my desk. On the truck was a folded piece of paper and a novel.

    I picked up the truck and its contents, hiding it all from Mr. Kim’s view. I unfolded the piece of paper, and revealed a short note in messy handwriting.

To Jamesy from his guardian Angel hahaha

    I glanced back to where Freeman was, and saw him wink at me, wearing his goofy smile. I smiled awkwardly back, and nodded in thanks.

    The novel was pretty good, and I had to admit, I wouldn’t have survived that English lesson without Freeman’s help. Perhaps he was making up for getting me into trouble in the previous class. Perhaps he was just being nice to his friend. I could never understand why that guy did what he did.

    Yet, sometimes understanding someone can be frightening.

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